Dawsonville plane crash pilot identified as Emory doctor

Dawsonville plane crash pilot identified as Emory doctor

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The scene of the fatal single-engine plane crash in Dawson County on Monday. The scene of the fatal single-engine plane crash in Dawson County on Monday.
Dr. John Culbertson (Courtesy: Emory Healthcare) Dr. John Culbertson (Courtesy: Emory Healthcare)
DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. -

Officials have confirmed that an Emory plastic surgeon was the sole victim of a single-engine plane crash in Dawsonville on Monday.  

Investigators say Dr. John Culbertson was flying a single-engine Piper Malibu PA-46 aircraft when went down near 1549 Auraria Road just after 7 p.m. Monday. The plane had departed the Morristown, NJ Municipal Airport around 4:30 p.m. and was headed to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.

According to an Emory spokesperson, Culbertson was a reconstructive surgeon at Emory Midtown Hospital and was a professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine.

Friends said Culbertson, known to them as Jack, lived with passion for his family, flying and his job. They said he had three children.

Culbertson was returning from a trip up north to see his mother. He was flying solo at the time of crash.

"His children were with him [on the trip up North], but they didn't return with him," said Dr. Grant Carlson.

Carlson is chief of plastic surgery at Emory and was a colleague of Culbertson for more than 20 years. He remembered Culbertson as a gifted surgeon who often took on some of the most complicated cases.

"Jack took care of people that others couldn't," Carlson said. "He took difficult operations that referred into the university that other people didn't quite have the answer for.

Culbertson built a life around helping others -- a legacy that lives on through his family, loved ones and patients.

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